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July 27, 1990 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-07-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4100.1- 1,111

I OPINION

A

s the school year
approaches, many
parents are deciding
what school is best for their
children.
In addition to public and
private non-sectarian schools,
there are also several Jewish
options. For parents who are
considering a Jewish day
school, the choice is com-
plicated by the many ways
Jewish families have chosen
to live their Judaism and the
limited educational options
available.
Families whose home life is
less observant of Jewish

One third of the
families identified
themselves as less
observant than
their school.

values and practices than the
school they are considering
encounter special questions.
This is the dilemma facing
Barbara and Jack. (These are
not their real names; they are
a West Bloomfield couple
whose situation typifies that
of many local families.) They
are thinking about sending
their five-year-old to a day
school kindergarten even
though they are less obser-
vant that the religious orien-
tation of the school. They are
considering a day school for
many reasons including its
quality secular program,
family atmosphere and high
level of parental input.
There is also a Jewish
aspect to their decision-
making. Barbara explains, "I
would like my daughter to be
able to make knowledgeable
choices. I want her to grow up
and understand her history
and culturally know about
the celebrations and know
what went on. And I'd like
her to grow up and marry a
Jewish boy. But I want her to
make her decisions with
knowledge behind them. I
don't want it to be, 'Because
God forbid if I didn't marry
somebody Jewish it would kill
Grandma.' That's not good
enough. It's really not good
enough!'
On the other hand, Barbara
and Jack, like many parents
who are debating about sen-
ding their children to a
Jewish day shcool, are

Helene Kalson Cohen, Ed.D.
is a West Bloomfield resident.

15

DETROIT

Suicide Machine

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM
Should Jews support
Dr. Kevorkian's device?

ELECTION '90

22

Local Primaries

KIMBERLY LIFTON
Age, abortion rights
in Oakland County.

24

13th District

22

KIMBERLY LIFTON
Jews watch closely
the Battle for Crockett.

25

Mideast Debate

HOWARD ROSENBERG
State party platforms
are focus of tug-of-war.

6

Lurking Non-Issue

JAMES BESSER
Senate and House races
are ignoring Middle East.

ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrity Siblings

69

STEVE HARTZ
Jack Weiner's sons
have followed his footsteps.

69

84

AROUND TOWN

European Flair

MERLE GOLDMAN
Soviet emigres were enchanted
by Ann Arbor and the U of M.

DEPARTMENTS

35
41
46
52
54
62

Inside Washington
Insight
Synagogues
Business
Sports
Cooking

80
86
92
94
99
130

Fine Arts
Engagements
Births
Single Life
Classified Ads
Obituaries

CANDLELIGHTING

8

8:40 p.m.
Friday, July 27, 1990
Sabbath ends July 28 9:47 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

rarCZMM

HELENE KALSON COHEN

war maim

ki 111-

CONTENTS

Balancing Home,
School Messages

somewhat apprehensive
about how their child and
their family will respond to
the day school atmosphere.
Jack explains that he's con-
cerned about "the pressure. It
can be pretty intense
religiously and I'm not as
comfortable with that as I am
with a more informal and
more laid back situation!'
In considering a more
observant school, many
parents speculate that their
child may be confused and
they often anticipate feeling
guilty and hypocritical
themselves.
Are these valid fears? A
recently completed three-year
study which I directed at Har-
vard University sheds light
on this question. The
research looked at over 500
families in Reform, Conser-
vative and Orthodox day
schools. In each school over
one third of the families iden-
tified themselves as "less"
observant of Jewish values
and practices than the school
their child attends.
Educators agree that this is
a significant phenomenon.
The children of these families
are getting two different
messages about what ideas
and behaviors are valued —
one in the home and one in
the school.
It was found that three
main variables influence how
the children respond to living
with this inconsistency. First
is the child's unique tempera-
ment. Next is the home situa-
tion, including the parents'
attitude towards Jewish
learning in their own lives.
The final variable is the
school's attitude towards
diversity within the Jewish
community in general and
towards their students who
live in less observant homes
in particular.
Children were seen to res-
pond to the incongruity in
five general ways. Some
children are moved by the
Judaica they learn in the
school and try to change their
homes to lessen the incon-
sistency. Others align with
the home and seek oppor-
tunities to prove the school
wrong. Other children are
upset by the inconsistency
but remain passive, seeking
to change neither the school
nor the home. Some are indif-
ferent to the Judaic content of
the curriculum.
Lastly, some children come
to an integrative acceptance
of the situation. Children who
fall into this category have a
Continued on Page 10

*HI WM 110.711 ►

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